Last week the Columbus Blue Jackets traded star center Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third-round draft pick to the Winnipeg Jets in a blockbuster trade. In return, the organization received all-star right wing Patrik Laine and Columbus native Jack Roslovic.
Many in the organization and many fans are excited about the trade, but there might not be anyone more excited about the Dubois trade result than Roslovic himself. After four seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, he returns to Columbus to play for his hometown Blue Jackets and debuts on Thursday. In this piece, I will explore what his return means to the team, the community, and himself.
Roslovic’s Columbus roots run deep. He has dreamed of playing for the Blue Jackets since he was young and was a season ticket holder from the team’s inaugural season in 2000-21. He grew up playing hockey for the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets and worked out with Blue Jacket players in the summer.
He drew the attention of the Jets, who drafted him 25th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. He then played one season at Miami University in Ohio before he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Jets on July 18, 2016.
Roslovic led the AHL in scoring in the 2016-17 season with 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists) and finally made his NHL debut with the Jets on April 6, 2017, against none other than his hometown Blue Jackets.
Roslovic Loves Columbus
Having a homegrown talent on the team could prove invaluable for the Blue Jackets, who have lost many big-name players to bigger cities and bigger markets. Roslovic loves the city, and you can see it every time he sits down for an interview. This must be a dream come true.
“I’m super motivated,” Roslovic said when he sat down with Jeff Svoboda. “That’s what I’ve always wanted, and I’m going to take on a role here that, hopefully, I’ve been waiting for too. I’m going to make the most of it, and I’m going to do it not only for myself but for our team and the city. I’m not going to shy away from anything.”
“Of course, I’m going to be a little bit biased, but I grew up here,” Roslovic continued. “I’ve spent pretty much my whole life here, and I have nothing bad to say about this city. I tell everyone it’s definitely underrated. This city had developed so much from when I first was born, and what I first remember from it.”
Roslovic finished by saying, “I’ve watched the team grow, and I’ve watched the city grow. I think it’s not even close to its potential, and I’m just super excited to be a part of it.”
Roslovic’s motivation and excitement could help sell the franchise and the city to big-name players, like the newly acquired Laine, and convince them to stay with the Blue Jackets long-term. He could become a weapon on and off the ice.
What Does Roslovic Bring to the Ice?
He has 67 points (26 goals, 41 assists) in 180 games. While his stats are not extraordinary, there is no denying his skill. “Yeah, he was always a good hockey player as a kid,” recalled Clayton Klosz, who participated in many of the same camps as Roslovic. “When he was seven, he skated in an Ohio State hockey camp with the ten-year-olds.”
Based on the quote above, Roslovic has the skills it takes to be successful in the NHL. He has continued to improve throughout his career, with his point increasing by an average of 9.67 every offseason. He’s coming off the best season of his career in 2019-20, recording a total of 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists). If he finds his place in Columbus, he could become a great middle line center for the Blue Jackets.
Roslovic’s homecoming means different things for many people. For the organization, it means finding a player who wants to be in Columbus and will be motivated to give it his all. He also helps solve depth issues at the center position for the Blue Jackets. That possibility is already off to a good start. He and the organization agreed to a two-year, $3.8 million contract extension shortly after the trade.
For the community, it means excitement. Columbus hockey fans are excited to finally have someone playing for the franchise they can relate with. With Columbus being his hometown, expect him to be deeply involved in making the community a better place. He will also inspire the many young hockey players around Central Ohio.
For Roslovic, this trade does two things for him. It gets him out of Winnipeg and happens to send him to his hometown team simultaneously. He has been vocal about wanting out of Winnipeg. After requesting a trade to start the 2020-21 season, he did not start the season with the Jets. (from ‘Jets don’t see Jack: No deal for Roslovic as camp looms,’ Winnipeg Sun, 12/30/2020)
In conclusion, the Blue Jackets receiving Roslovic on top of Laine is an underappreciated portion of the trade, Roslovic is now living his childhood dream, and the community is excited about his debut. If things go well between these three parties, he will be a big part of the franchise for years to come.
Cody Chalfan is currently a journalism major at the Ohio State University who grew up in Columbus and loves hockey, especially the Blue Jackets. He is disabled, therefore he is a major advocate for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone movement. A piece he wrote focusing on the Blue Jackets’ work on expanding the sport into the local special needs community can be found here. Cody can be contacted via Twitter (@cachalfan) direct message for comments, constructive criticism, or story ideas.